FAQ Me, I’m Leaving The Country!

If you don't recognise these people, you shouldn't be reading this.

So here. I have some news. Nathalie and I are moving to Lisbon in Portugal, and soon. Real soon. Like, three short, packing-packed weeks away. This is happening quite quickly and I’m not getting to see nearly enough people before I go, so I figured I’d save us both (you and me) a bit of time and cover some of the Frequently Asked Questions below so that when I do see you, we’re able to get right into the good stuff.

The Basics

Q Why are you moving to Lisbon?
A We had to move out of our house so our landlord and his family aren’t homeless and considering our options, long-term ambitions, rental market in this city and what the next six to nine months entail (periods of high-intensity, high-stress work), it made sense to live somewhere cheaper and sunnier, for a while at least. Nathalie has simulcast a nice post about it here.

Q You’re not leaving forever?
A Nope. We intend to come back to Ireland. I really like this country, and no matter where I am, this is my home, but we’re seizing this opportunity to widen our horizons, change our focus, and have an adventure.

Q Have you ever been to Lisbon?
A Yes. Once. And it was lovely!

Q Do you speak Portuguese?
A Why do people keep asking me that? Ah no, I get it. I don’t really speak it yet, but we’re both learning and we’ve found that, like many European cities, the Lisboan standard of English is excellent.

Q Youse getting jobs over there?
A Nope!

Q 😕
A Don’t worry! My wonderful employer is being *extremely cool* and is helping me get set up to work remotely. Nathalie is freelance and will continue to travel the world (including coming back to Dublin periodically) for shoots and meetings, while filing copy and working remotely from Lisbon. She’ll also be investing time and energy into some exciting projects.

Q Do you have somewhere to live yet?
A Wellllllll no…not yet. We’re looking at places and are hoping to get a modest apartment in the city when we’re there in December.

Q What are you going to do with your 🐈?
A Bring him, obvs. They have cats in Portugal, I assume.

Q So, when can we meet up? You owe me a hug / money / a lot of money / an apology (delete where appropriate)
A Delighted you asked! Nathalie and I’ll be back in Dublin over the Christmas break and will be having a going-away drinks do on New Year’s Eve and would love to see you there. This has been a chaotic few months and even with this primer, we have plenty to catch up on

Q I’m going to be in Lisbon in X month(s), you up for meeting up?
A YES! Give us a shout, we’d love to share what we know about the city, show you some great places to eat and drink and have fun. I mean it, hit us up.

The Important Stuff

Q Have you ever lived anywhere hot before?
A I spent a few weeks in Cork once, but I guess that’s not what you mean, so no, I haven’t.

Q What are you most worried about?
A Two things. The first is how much I’m going to have to spend on sunscreen. My pale, translucent skin isn’t built for the sun. The second thing is how I’m going to play video games or sit in and program for fun on a beautiful sunny day. I worry that I’ll be aimlessly standing around outdoors slathered in SPF every day I have off out of a tragically misfiring Irish sense of obligation to “make the best of the weather”.

Q How’s the food?
A Amazing. Local specialties like pasteis de nata (transcendent custard tarts that have to be eaten fresh with a short cup of coffee to be believed), bolinhos de bacalhau (salt cod fried in seasoned potato) are a continuous delight. Drinkswise? The wine is good, the port is good, the beer is good and the coffee is good. It’s all really good.

Q Here, what’s that game you’re making?
A I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk about it, but don’t worry, you’ll hear about it when I can because I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. Hopefully soon!

Q I’m gonna miss you.
A That isn’t a question, but I’ll miss you too, but also, I won’t, because you’re going to come hang out in Lisbon some time, it’s sunny and cheap and nice and your ol’ pal Ben’ll be there. (I’ll also be back in Dublin from time to time and would love to do nice Dublin things with friends, like dinner and pints in nice pubs and strolling around this lovely city). If you’d like to be kept in the loop, and there’s no obligation here, drop your email in here.

P.S. Portraits by wonderful and talented Lisbon-based photographers The Barilles.

My 30 at 30

I’m thirty now. 30. Officially a grown-up, at least in the eyes of my childhood self. Thirty once seemed like an impossibly long time away, and I suppose it was, looking back on who I was and who I’ve become. To celebrate and commiserate with myself, here’s my thirty things I’ve learned about being thirty in the few hours I’ve had to take it for a spin.

[dropcap]1[/dropcap]  The older you get, the smarter you get. There were things that I was better at ten or fifteen years ago, but in hindsight, I have only gotten more savvy and centred as time has gone on, which makes me optimistic and cheerful about the future.

[dropcap]2[/dropcap]  Friends are important, real friends are essential.

[dropcap]3[/dropcap]  Cooking used to be something annoying I had to do before I could eat, now it’s one of the most enjoyable ways I can spend time. I didn’t see that coming. Still don’t enjoy gardening though.

[dropcap]4[/dropcap]  Even though I’ve changed so much in my lifetime that I feel unrecognisable compared to wee baby Ben, I’ve only become more myself.

[dropcap]5[/dropcap]  Keep an open mind about your career. I once felt pretty smug about the fact that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Being a filmmaker is all I had ever wanted, and all I thought I’d ever want, but my ambitions and the world have changed. I’m grateful I got the chance to do what I wanted, but even more excited about the next adventure.

[dropcap]6[/dropcap]  Young people don’t take their opposite gender seriously, especially young men. I thought I did, but I really didn’t. Recent ugliness I’ve witnessed has made me more resolute in my support for gender equality, and thankful that I have healthy relationships with the women in my life. Remember, they’re just like us!

[dropcap]7[/dropcap]  The Pale Blue Dot image and speech blows my mind as much now as it did fifteen years ago. It’ll blow your mind too.

[dropcap]8[/dropcap]  I still don’t know what to do with my hair, but I’m getting there. If you have your hair game figured out, I salute you.

[dropcap]9[/dropcap]  Ditto clothes.

[dropcap]10[/dropcap]  I rarely go to bed later than midnight because I have to be up in the morning. This is a much more enjoyable shift than I expected.

[dropcap]11[/dropcap]  The most valuable skill I’ve ever developed is my ability to listen. It’s brought me great things in life.

[dropcap]12[/dropcap]  Don’t interrupt.

[dropcap]13[/dropcap]  Always sleep on a draft before sending it off. You’ll spot loads of stuff.

[dropcap]14[/dropcap]  Pain and heartbreak are as horrific as they are necessary to become a fully grown and rounded person. My capacity to heal has helped me shape and know myself, though seeking damage willingly is a toxic and dangerous trait.

[dropcap]15[/dropcap]  Be as generous as you can be, but avoid truly selfish people. You should never share with people you’ll end up resenting.

[dropcap]16[/dropcap]  Take care of your feet, they are the tyres of your body.

[dropcap]17[/dropcap]  Know and do what you’re good at, but don’t be afraid to be the worst at something. Even Jimi Hendrix sucked at guitar once.

[dropcap]18[/dropcap]  We’re all in this together.

[dropcap]19[/dropcap]  Be optimistic and assume the best of people. Better to be magnanimous and wrong than bitter and right.

[dropcap]20[/dropcap]  Fight shyness. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but getting to know other people easily is opening your life and your heart to a universe of possibilities.

[dropcap]21[/dropcap]  Getting up early is pretty much always worthwhile. That’s why it’s hard.

[dropcap]22[/dropcap]  Living in the future is cool if you think about it at all:


[dropcap]23[/dropcap]  Learning to enjoy things you didn’t before is a way to find happiness almost anywhere.

[dropcap]24[/dropcap]  Travelling is one of the best ways to spend time and money, as long as you venture out of your comfort zone.

[dropcap]25[/dropcap]  Nothing is static or absolute, life is a series of balancing acts and feedback loops. Making the journey isn’t like walking, it’s more like surfing.

[dropcap]26[/dropcap]  Don’t be afraid to cry (in moderation). (Warning! Spoiler for the finale for The US Office)

[dropcap]27[/dropcap]  A key to a healthy relationship is respect for one another’s passions. You get that for free if those passions are shared, but if not, take a genuine interest.

[dropcap]28[/dropcap]  Arrogance isn’t confidence, honesty is.

[dropcap]29[/dropcap]  It’s okay to be afraid, but sometimes you have to be brave as well.

[dropcap]30[/dropcap]  The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Many thanks to Mr. Homer Goes To Washington for the awesome banner pic.

Dictator’s debut gig

My good mate Richard Doran-Sherlock has teamed up with James Walmsley, Megan Riordan and Robin Ball for a new project called Dictator. I went along to their debut gig in The Workman’s Club. They have some great tunes, and even though Robin was being subbed on drums by Phil Doran, who only learned the set a few hours before the show, the rhythm section was really tight, driving the strong vocals and well-written songs. Here are some shots!



Barry’s Bespoke Bakery available on the RTÉ Player

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Short Short I produced Barry’s Bespoke Bakery is available to watch on the RTÉ Player for a little while. If you live in Ireland and haven’t seen it yet, this is the only way to see it online. I’m afraid that it is not available to watch if you are outside of Ireland.

This is so it doesn’t affect out international festival run. If you are abroad and would like to see the film, keep an eye on our screenings page, where we post details of all upcoming screenings.
This version on the RTÉ Player will expire on Wednesday the 17th of July, 2013. Please do watch it before then if you can and tell me what you think!



[dropcap]U[/dropcap]niquely Dublin have most wonderfully seen their way to selecting Horse in The Hole for their shortlist. We are exhibiting in the Little Museum of Dublin for the next few weeks until the 26th of April. The exhibition is open and free to the public. Please do stick your head in and have a look at our entry and the other works if you’re in the vicinity.



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The competition’s being run by The Little Museum of Dublin with the support of Dublin City Council and we’re delighted to have been shortlisted – given the quality of the other nominees, we’re in esteemed company. The grand prize of this competition is decided by public vote; you can vote here:

[button link=”http://www.uniquelydublin.ie/” target=”_blank” color=”green”]Cast Your Vote Here![/button]




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Things I Learned From Joss Whedon

[intro]I went to see Joss Whedon’s new film Much Ado About Nothing today, followed by a talk from the man himself. I came away feeling inspired, below are a few of the things Nathalie and I spoke about, that were rattling around in my head on the way home.[/intro]

[dropcap]1.[/dropcap] Character always comes first. Whether it’s a douchebag in Much Ado About Nothing, or Hawkeye in The Avengers. I’m reminded of a great quote I heard from Denis: [cite]What does he want, and why can’t he?[/cite] Motivation is everything.

[dropcap]2.[/dropcap] Collaborate carefully. Joss made a point of saying that he worked with his friends, and that he picked those friends up as he went from project to project. He clearly worked hard to get them and to keep them, and he credits them with bringing a lot of ideas and energy to their projects.

[dropcap]3.[/dropcap] Make what you write. As he pointed out, these days there’s no excuse for not constantly producing and writing your own material. I’ve been feeling quite itchy (no, not down there) lately to get out there and get making things again. I get this point completely.

[dropcap]4.[/dropcap] Don’t be afraid to stay small. This crossed over with something Gabe Newell said on a podcast recently. Being small means you can be nimble and quick, and can leapfrog the competition. You don’t need to be part of the machine, you can build and drive your own business around your own content.

[dropcap]5.[/dropcap] Be humble but confident. Joss was humble, eager to acknowledge the work of others and to make light of his efforts, but he wasn’t falsely modest, or insincere. It’s important to always stay real and connected to the reality of your successes and failures.